Saturday, August 30, 2008

Another concert...

Been to another Indian Classical Music concert(previous one here). Was a good one. It was held at my favorite place - Bharat Gayan Samaj auditorium. Its a very small auditorium and so, one can watch the singer and the expressions on his/her face closely.

When i started listening to ICM, i always wondered how fellow musicians and saathidaars know when to stop, when to increase the laya or when to pickup from the main singer. Only, after watching a few mehfils did i surmise, that the singer subtly signals everyone around :)

The singer was Shrimati Sania Patankar from the Jaipur gharana. She is a disciple of Ashwini Bhide-Deshpande who is a disciple of Gaan Saraswati Kishori Amonkar. The mehfil started with a Jaipur gharana patent(not literally :) ) Raag Lalita-Gouri. Then came Durga and a Zoola and the Bhairavi. She seemed to have pretty good command on the upper middle and upper saptak, but i rarely heard hear in the lower one. All her taans and layakaari was in the upper notes. As usual, every singer has an area of expertise. Overall, the mehfil was good, certainly worth going!

Here is a snap i managed to take from my mobile cam:

The two girls sitting behind there were singing really well (esp the one on her left). They were following her perfectly! I wish i could sing like them, that too at such young age...

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Visit if you have some time to kill :)

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008


tamil *tSong;
english *eSong;
eSong = reinterpret_cast<english*>(tSong);


I mean, its a Tamil song interpreted and subtitled as if it were English...

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Google's datacenters

Do you wonder where Google stores the stupendous amount of information it spiders, along with user data, statistics and cache ? Here are some interesting facts about Google's data and processing stores:

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My bad.

Due to a faulty DNS entry, did not resolve to what it should , and the blog was unreachable for more than a day. I'm sorry for the folly (not that i have a huge number of regular visitors, but even if it happened to a single one, i ought to apologize).
I made only a small change, and since it takes some time for the DNS changes to propagate, i thought 'i will test it (a couple of hrs) later'. Generally, i immediately test such changes by going through American proxies, but i skipped that step this time.
The important lesson learnt is - no change is a 'small change', and testing is a must!

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

LOD 19 - API search engine for various platforms.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

How you saw faked fireworks...

'Parts of the spectacular Beijing Olympics opening ceremony were faked, it has emerged.'
Details at:

Had the host been India, a special parliament session would have been convened to discuss whether this should be done or not. After a couple of walk outs by the opposition, finally it would have been decided that media should not be used to deceive the public. By this time, the whole world would have known the plan and, India TV would have had broadcast videos(animations) showing the differences between how it would have looked actually and how they were planning to broadcast it. After the parliament decided upon what to do about faking, the opposition again would have walked out on the issue that fireworks pollute air... and so on...
I know, i'm being a bit too negative here. But, i just want to highlight the difference between a democratic and a communist government. It is tremendous!

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Not for vegetarians ;)

Two easter eggs in Firefox 3 -

1) Key in 'about:mozilla' as the url in the address bar or click here
2) Key in 'about:robots' as the url in the address bar or click here

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Some photography to kill time :P

After quite a few tries and lots of fiddling with the camera settings, finally managed to capture the moment - a water drop falling on our window sill.

[click to view a larger size]

The window pane, after yesterday's heavy rain (does it rhyme ;) )

[click to view a larger size]

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Saturday, August 9, 2008

A recent music concert

Went to Raghunandan Panshikar's classical vocal mehfil yesterday. Raghunandan is the son of Prabhakar Panshikar, a veteran marathi cinema and rangabhoomi actor. I'd never heard Raghunandan before, so i was excited.
The performance(am judging as a shrota , otherwise who am i to judge any singer ? :) ) was okay, maybe 3 and a half stars out of five. I personally did not find it impressive. Often, in a mehfil, not the entire performance is impressive, but at some point, the performer presents an impeccable tAn or a novel tarAna or fabulous meend spanning multiple octaves. Something like that makes the mehfil remarkable.
Raghunandan is from the Jaipur-Atrauli gharana, and i came to know just yesterday that he is a student of Kishoritai Amonkar for the past 17 years! Seventeen years under one guru is commendable, he must have a lot of patience :)
He started with a badA khyAl in raag Malhar. It was a pArampArik bandish which lasted for around 75 minutes. As far as i've observed, Jaipur gharana singers always tend to stick to
pArampArik bandishes rather than using new compositions. In Kishoritai style, he too made use of only the aakar. Not a single sargam was found :( He did display a meend dipping into the mandra octave, but that did not make a big impression on me.

After the Malhar, he asked the audience for a farmAish. Unfortunately, there was a big Kishori Amonkar fan sitting in the crowd. He pressed Raghunandan to sing Anand-Malhar which has been created by Kishoritai herself. After some resistance, the singer obliged to sing a small piece, and we had to listen to another Malhar :( There was some Yamani anga to the raag, but, for novices like me, it was not very different from the pristine Malhar sung earlier.
Then someone asked for a Yaman. Raghunandan agreed and started. For the first 15 seconds or so, i could not find any sign of Yaman in his singing. After listening for half a minute more i was surprised to realize that there was absolutely no Yaman in there! Infact it was an immaculate
Bhoop! Don't know why he tricked the audience this way :-/ Utimately, it turned out to be a familiar bandish sung by KA('Prathama sur sadhe').
It was already late, and I had to leave for an errand. Only then did i realize that, i'd misplaced my mobile cover when i moved to a different row. While i was searching around in the auditorium, a lady asked me if i was looking for a cover and gave it to me :)
It was raining heavily outside and i drove along humming the Malhar...

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LOD 17

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

LOD 16

Intel to open up details about Larrabee:

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When chemicals wreak havoc!

Yesterday, when i stopped for a red signal near Sarasbaug(Pune), i saw a 'mad' man. He crossed the road in front of me. His clothes were torn, skin blackened from lack of cleanliness, hair dishevelled and wet from rain, and was wearing no footwear. He was talking loudly to himself, making gestures in air. I felt pity for him. Seeing such people unexceptionally makes me feel that way. I would not feel that pity for a beggar; but, the commiseration is caused more by the fact that the mad man has lost even his senses in addition to whatever wealth he had. He is totally or partially oblivious of what is going around him.
Whenever i see such people, it makes me wonder what must have made them so ? Would it be the loss of a dear one ? loss of property ? Bollywood flicks have since long, depicted such sequences - people going mad because of mental/emotional shocks. But, it is very rare for such reasons to be the cause of madness.
Actually, i do not know the doctors' definition of 'madness'. At what point will doctors start calling a person 'mad' ? What are the precise symptoms ? I know not.
Another thing which always comes to my mind when i see such a person is - is he actually mad ? or, in other words, how far is he away from becoming sane ? We tend to think of madness as a serious, long-lasting and sometimes an incurable affliction. But, it might not always be that way. Many of those wandering on roads, tagged as 'mad' might not actually be insane.

Like Rishi Vashistha points out in 'Yoga Vashishta' - everything is in the mind. And mind is in the brain. So everything is in the brain. As long as the chemical and electrical processes in the brain are going well, everything seems well and good. Even a small abnormality in the brain can cause significant effects on the behaviour of that person. Each one of the billions of neurons in our brain depends on metallic ions for communicating with other neurons. Even a slight imbalance in concentration of these elements(primarily Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium) can wreak havoc with a human! Even the concentration of carbon-di-oxide in the blood is important for the brain. These things are so crucial that, a person with improper concentration of these chemicals will seem like 'mad' to people around him. In fact, he/she is faar away from madness in the real sense. It is only a temporary phase (a few weeks maybe) until things in the brain get fixed.

The effects are awful. The affected might see all kinds of immersive visions/hallucinations. They are so real for the patient that he/she will not believe if he is told about the actuality. The patient may ask you to look around and see how beautiful the garden and children playing in it look or to stop the car at the next crossing, so that he can get out or might ask you to get up to make place for the (non-existent)crowd that is arriving,... - all this, while he is on bed in his own room. Spatial and temporal perceptions are skewed. Noon might suddenly turn into morning for the patient, after he wakes up from a ten minute nap. Three people may be seen on a chair where only one will fit. The patient might hear noises, and converse with non-existent people. No amount of your trying to make the patient realize the actual situation will help. Logic and counter arguments will fall to the ground. Since the processor of logic i.e the brain itself has malfunctioned, how will any logic help ? I've seen a patient in such a condition, who, i thought was in a major problem. But, with proper medication, he became absolutely normal in about half a month. Some of the 'mad' people we see on streets might be victims of such an imbalance rather than chronic madness. Not a huge amount of treatment would be needed to bring them into sanity. They are unfortunate not to get it :(
I always tend to think - are such disorders a reminder of the fact that, we are nothing but a blob of chemicals ?

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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

LOD 15

Another good one at xkcd -

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Fo'all ye lazy bloggers...

Wholy smoke I just had a terrible scare when I thought I have not updated this since they let me out!... You would not believe how good I look after all the plastic surgery. Cheers Mate..

I am totally exhausted with my tan, hanging out at the Aussie Bloggers Forums, just generally being a coach to the local soccer team, my day lasts forever from beach break to well after sun-down. I am hoping one day they will call me 'mummy' again. maybe tomorrow.

I absolutely, positively promise I will update you with my nefarious activities as soon as I get a chance. I promise! I will write more to certain yous; but it might not be you in particular who I write to...

I never could have written this.
This was generated by randomly selecting entries on:
Nice tool for lazy bloggers, he he ;)

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Sunday, August 3, 2008

LOD 14

Not all patents are utilitarian -

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Saturday, August 2, 2008

Recommending 'Prism'

I've been using Prism for quite some time now, around 3-4 months, and i've found it useful. Thought i should share it with others.

'Prism' is an open source product from Mozilla labs. Actually, Prism is the new name for what was called 'WebRunner'. In simple words, Prism creates a web app out of a website B-) The idea is extremely simple, but effective. The concept is not new, although it isn't popular yet.

Prism is based on the concept of a 'Site Specific Browser' i.e a browser using which one can visit only a given specific website. The website's URL is input as a part of the setup, rather than giving it every time you wish to visit it. A SSB does not need to have an address bar or tabs or even any toolbar. There is not a singe button in the window. The only thing it displays is the website. You have to create as many instances of Prism as the number of different websites you wish to browse. A new Prism process, independent of any already running Prisms is created for the new site. I've created apps from my email and RSS reader websites.

The main advantage i've got by using Prism is - it is extremely stable. Firefox, with all the extensions, flash, applets, tens of open tabs, bookmarks etc etc becomes unresponsive at times and even crashes. So far, Prism has never crashed. Also, without the address bar and toolbars, there is more space for the website to use (as a note - Firefox 3(but not 2) provides even more space when used in fullscreen mode). Another small advantage is, since the website is treated as a separate app, i can have a shortcut to it placed on my desktop or quick-launch. I personally, like to use the keyboard more, so i've assigned keyboard short cuts to the webapps. And, of course, nobody stops you from putting your favorite webapps into startup :) Prism uses the same technology (XULRunner + Gecko) as Firefox, so websites should look no different in Prism. Any links pointing outside the domain of the webapp open in the default browser, so no fear of navigating away from the website for which Prism was instantiated.

Overall, its a useful software, worth giving a try.

Here is where you can find it:

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Friday, August 1, 2008


Is Microsoft Windows nearing its end ? Microsoft recently revealed plans for a post Windows OS code named 'Midori'. Here is more about it: MS Midori

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